Improving Asset Utilization in Imaging Centers Using Glassbeam

Puneet Pandit

In the last blog post, we talked about how Imaging Centers can improve the demand side of the equation by analyzing referring physician data and related trends.

In this blog, we will focus more on the supply side and understand why such organizations often struggle with optimizing existing capacity through better asset utilization of their imaging fleet.

Managing an independent imaging center business is rife with conflicting priorities.

One of the most important is the trade-off between the capital cost of buying new imaging equipment versus spending time and money on improving the utilization of the existing imaging fleet. It is easy to over-provision and buy more machines. However, CFOs hate the idea of bloated capital expenditure spends and reducing margins with excess unused capacity in their facilities.

So, why is it so difficult to get a real-time pulse on “actual” utilization data for an imaging fleet? The challenge lies in the ad hoc analysis process used by many organizations that relies on rudimentary techniques such as building spreadsheets with data extracted from RIS, EMR, PACS and several other data sources. By the time the analysis is completed, with several hours/days of precious time from the Radiology operations staff, the insights become stale. Besides being stale, such analysis overlooks the complex relationships between machine uptime and utilization. They are many times highly correlated. A poorly utilized machine/facility can be a function of poor maintenance of that machine. We have seen this story several times in our prospect discussions.

The solution to the above conundrum is simple.

Organizations need to tap into the real-time data flowing in their IT network each time an exam is done. Such data, as in DICOM headers, combined with HL7 messages, has a plethora of insights.

But that is not the complete picture.

You have to combine these insights with machine logs to get a true picture of repeat exam analysis. Now you have more granular utilization data for such machines (for example, Digital X-Ray). You also have to import scheduling data from RIS/EMR systems to do a “diff” on scheduled versus actual exam throughput of a facility. Then you can know where to look to improve the operations and increase exam throughput. Finally, you have to bring in machine uptime analysis, from CMMS, into the picture as well to correlate poor uptime with the utilization of that imaging equipment.

Glassbeam provides such a solution with its Clinsights™ offering. 

As an example, we have an Executive dashboard that sits on top of a rich data warehouse built from near real-time information collected from several endpoints like machine logs, CMMS service data, DICOM, HL7, RIS, and EMR systems.

Here are 4 reasons to implement an integrated advanced analytics solution like Clinsights to improve your operations through better asset utilization:

  1. Optimize Patient Workflows: Analyze exam scheduling and corresponding scheduling delays by facility, modality, exam type and more; Understand protocol variations, process variations across facilities, operators and devices
  2. Operator Utilization: Understand the percentage of time devices are being used and what percentage of that is actual use versus change over time; Analyze technologist skill set, their utilization, their exam mix, long-running exams and training needs
  3. Exam Throughput per Asset: Understand the average number of exams being conducted per asset; Using Log received %, understand the number of days when the system was down or not connected to the network
  4. Scheduling Analysis: Track the current number of exams per day per asset and maximum exams possible on that device; Understanding scheduling bottlenecks and what can be done to improve scheduling

How about you take our solution for a test drive with your live data?

It takes less than a week to connect all of your medical equipment using our simple to install data connector, get a sign off from your IT department, and view live analytics on your phone. We are HIPAA certified for data privacy. Our 70+ customers trust us with their data in the cloud.

Would you be interested?

Schedule your custom Clinsights solution demo today.